As the United States Supreme Court continues to consider its verdict in the Christie v NCAA federal lawsuit, the American Gaming Association has used college basketball as a way to illustrate why the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) must be repealed.

Ratified in 1992, PASPA instituted a nationwide ban on all sportsbetting in the United States with the notable exceptions of venues located in the states of Delaware, Oregon, Nevada and Montana. Although New Jersey had been given the chance to become the fifth member of this exclusive club, it was unable to pass required legislation in time while its Republican governor, Chris Christie, subsequently initiated the Christie v NCAA legal action in hopes of changing the current state of affairs.

Featuring members such as Paddy Power Betfair, Scientific Games Corporation and Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the American Gaming Association works as a lobbyist for the United States’ gaming entertainment industry and has long advocated for the modification or revocation of PASPA. To further support this stance, it recently revealed the results of a legal analysis showing that some 97% of the wagers due to be placed on the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will be illegal.

The American Gaming Association declared that punters in the United States are expected to bet approximately $10 billion on the 80th edition of this annual basketball extravaganza, which got underway yesterday and is scheduled to finish on April 2 inside San Antonio’s 39,000-seat Alamodome. But, the group revealed that only around $300 million of this amount is set to be legally wagered through sportsbooks in Nevada.

Geoff Freeman, Chief Executive Officer and President for the American Gaming Association, stated that the United States sportsbetting market is worth about $150 billion a year but that PASPA technically makes criminals of many fans who wager via offshore domains or take part in sports pools competitions such as the popular ‘March Madness’ bracket contests.

“Our current sportsbetting laws are so out of touch with reality that we’re turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball,” read a Monday statement from Freeman.

To better illustrate its point, the American Gaming Association detailed that roughly 10% of the United States’ adult population are expected to take part in real-money ‘March Madness’ bracket competitions this year and in the process spend approximately $3 billion despite the fact that around two-thirds of states currently prohibit such activities.

American Gaming Association continuing anti-PASPA efforts

“The failed federal ban on sportsbetting has created an illegal [and] unregulated sportsbetting market that offers zero consumer protections and generates zero revenues for state and tribal governments,” read the statement from Freeman. “As the [United States] Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of PASPA, the American Gaming Association is focused on working with all stakeholders to put the illegal market out of business and enable a safe [and] legal way for American consumers to participate in next year’s office pool without fear of prosecution.”

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